UPDATE: JPD: Highway gunfight followed Friday’s drug-related shooting

Blood from a 44-year-old man shot on Friday was still evident around in the snow in the area on Saturday. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)
Blood from a 44-year-old man shot on Friday was evident in the area on Saturday. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

Update 5:18 p.m.: This story has been updated with clarifications, additional comment from police and court activity.

Updated post:

When police shutdown the outbound lanes of Egan Drive late Friday morning, they now say they were searching for evidence from a highway gunfight stemming from a drug deal.

James Depasquale
James Depasquale while in court Dec. 10, 2013. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

Friday’s shooting at the Coho Park Apartments after midnight was followed by an early morning exchange of gunfire from two moving vehicles on Egan Drive involving at least four people.

According to a press release the Juneau Police Department put out Monday, there were no injuries in the second shooting — and it went unreported.

Police shut down the outbound lanes of Juneau’s main road artery by 10:22 a.m. Friday to collect evidence.

Juneau police Lt. Kris Sell said it’s been a very complicated case.

“I’ve been an officer here in Juneau for 16 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Sell said. “Where you have a shooting, and then the parties go their separate ways, and then there’s another shooting and – yeah, this is unique.”

The department is still processing evidence and trying to pin down timelines.

Jerall Torres
Jerall Torres talks to the judge while in court Dec. 10, 2013. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

Police have seized an undisclosed amount of heroin. Recent busts indicate the drug’s street value has skyrocketed from about $136 per gram in 2011 to $1,000 per gram now.

“It’s extremely profitable to deal heroin,” Sell said. “So that can tempt people into the business, but clearly, it’s a very high risk business.”

So far in the alleged drug deal turned shooting turned highway gunfight turned faux kidnapping, police have arrested three people, all Juneau residents:

  • 44-year-old James Depasquale (Court records also refer to him as James De Pasquale III). Police say Depasquale was shot twice at the Coho Park Apartments and was taken to the hospital from the scene.Court records show charges for seven felonies and one misdemeanor pending against Depasquale that are consistent with drug dealing, gunplay and tampering with evidence. They also show that about 11 hours before he was shot, the courts had issued a warrant for his arrest – he’d been on probation for an assault in July.

“So you’ve got one guy in the hospital, but the conflict is continuing,” Sell said. “And the person whose buddy got shot goes and recruits another friend.”

Amanda Phillips
Amanda Phillips appears in court Dec. 10, 2013. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

Sell said those two people were involved in the highway shooting with,

  • 24-year-old Jerall Torres. Court records show he’s facing two felony charges. One is for drugs. The other is for gunplay specifically from a moving vehicle. The vehicle hunt that police solicited the public’s help with Friday was for a truck that Torres reportedly left the initial shooting in. However, officials picked him up around 8:12 a.m. Friday in a sedan with…
  • 26-year old Amanda Phillips. Phillips is facing a felony charge for tampering with evidence. Police accuse her of hiding the handgun that Depasquale used.

The three appeared in court today to review bail and attorney representation. More hearings are expected as soon as next week.

Police have mentioned one more person somehow involved, but haven’t identified her by name: A 22-year-old woman who reported her kidnapping and escape from Torres. Police now say she was “voluntarily involved” with Depasquale and Torres and that the kidnapping was likely a fabrication.

(Matt Miller contributed to this report.)

(Click here for a full screen version of this interactive timeline of Friday’s events.)

Jeremy Hsieh

Local News Reporter, KTOO

I dig into questions about the forces and institutions that shape Juneau, big and small, delightful and outrageous. What stirs you up about how Juneau is built and how the city works?

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